Title: Sucker For Love
Release Date: January 20, 2022
Reviewed On: PC
Genre: Visual Novel, Point & Click
Romantic visual novels being subverted to provide experimental experiences has become common, potentially ridding the ‘subversion’ label altogether. Regardless, genre shake-ups are always a neat concept, and the Akabaka developed Sucker For Love boasts that idea in spades. Unfortunately, its execution ultimately feels lacking, and a few performance-related bugs can make the gameplay process an unnecessary chore.
Players control a protagonist obsessed with the occult and its ceremonial activities, and he ends up meeting eldritch beings who possess genuinely terrifying power. However, these seemingly omnipotent creatures turn out to be endearing girls with hearts of their own. During the opening, he is sent a bright pink Necronomicon, leading to him summoning the Cthulhu-like girl, Ln’eta. After a series of exchanges, it’s revealed that all the protagonist desires is a kiss from her, which, even for such a powerful being, is rather shocking. Still, she agrees to the request under the pretense of him performing the rituals presented in the book.
These rituals are the crux of the gameplay experience, and they’re not really much to write home about. Players must simply adhere to the explicitly written directions, such as having particular objects on their person or adjusting the lighting of their abode to accommodate the supernatural elements.
The final step for fulfilling these rituals is to chant an incantation, which involves gradually mousing over a select passage. To be honest, these activities were more forgettable than anything else since not only are the tasks just kind of boring, but the game straight up tells you what components to alter if anything is off. This leads to a lack of meaningful accomplishment when performing the tasks. They’re relatively akin to doing chores in real life solely for the sake of it.
Further, my experience with the rituals was quite messy since they would sometimes not work entirely. For instance, a step would necessitate me wearing a robe, but the game would tell me I wasn’t wearing one even when I did. I had to leave the room and constantly re-enter until my attire was recognized to solve this dilemma. There have been patches to potentially address these faults, but their existence did undeniably ruin pacing on my end. A few crashes occurred too, but I’m sure appropriate fixes are in the works by the developer.
The characters are where this pseudo-visual novel truly shines. Another eldritch being named Estir is my personal favorite as her haughty persona is perfectly encapsulated by her voice actress. She is a classic tsundere through and through, and her actual nature is adorable to see unfold. The other girls are voiced similarly well, so players can look forward to troves of delightful banter. Still, the relationships between them and the protagonist never felt genuine, even by the endings. The title is brief, perhaps to a fault, as none of the bonds came off as if they were adequately worked for. A decent amount of the interactions and outcomes are played for laughs, so humor was an aim here, but it was done at the cost of character relationships that could have been immensely more compelling.
Regarding the endings, the chapters have multiple obtainable endings. While the most easily achievable endings require following the contextual rituals to the letter, the other conclusions are initiated by sequential differences. Unfortunately, many of the bland ceremonies have to be re-performed, which was mildly vexing despite their brevity.
The tone of Sucker For Love is odd to discuss because while comedy is a primary factor, there are horror elements strewn about. However, I was never sure if they were intended to be legitimately unsettling or comedically incorporated. There seems to be an unbalanced efficacy of tone that left me puzzled. I will admit that there are a few wholesome and emotional exchanges, especially with Ln’eta. It’s just that the game’s identity seems to juggle between too many avenues of appeal without properly coalescing them or honing in on one enough.
Sucker For Love stands out for its bold premise and talented voice work, but aside from that, it can be a chore to actually play through. Its gameplay feels like padding to its core, and the writing, while occasionally humorous, presents itself as unfocused. The lack of grace with tonal balance ultimately makes this title a questionable venture that is best perceived as an entertaining experiment and nothing more. Still, its price point is fair, so if you’re moderately intrigued by what this game offers, it’s worth giving it a shot.
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